By Bernhard Blanke, Randall Smith

This quantity explores more than a few present difficulties confronted via towns in Germany and England whereas reflecting on positive thoughts for boosting the standard of lifestyles for the voters of twenty-first century city environments. The chapters of the e-book are in response to papers given at a symposium equipped through the colleges of Bristol and Hannover in 1997 to rejoice the fiftieth anniversary of twinning among the 2 cities.

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By contrast, should regional cooperation be aimed at producing ‘regional development programmes’ (Regionale Entwicklungskonzepte)? It is, in the main, initiated by the state. In this case there are basically two different motives for cooperative action. First, the state enforces cooperation by law. This has been the usual way in the past. Second, cooperation is induced by state-controlled fiscal incentives. Similar to the City Challenge programme in England, local authorities receive additional public funds if they cooperate on ‘regional development programmes’.

Under conditions of uncertainty organizations will look to joint activity in order to spread risk or indeed in order to take risks. Thus much of the rationale of partnership building in Bristol has been the recognition that the local authority has neither the resources, the legal right nor perhaps the will to take risks inherent in much contemporary urban boosterism. Equally, the private sector is unwilling to make risky investments without some form of civic underwriting. It is well known from the organizational literature that groups take riskier decisions than individuals and it is clear that the activities of the several Bristol Partnerships have produced more innovation, adventure and risk than Bristol has enjoyed in recent decades.

On the other hand, a third of the region’s population live in towns and cities over 100 000 in which are concentrated 58 per cent of the region’s jobs and 61 per cent of its unemployment. The region has 14 per cent of the country’s derelict land, and the cities (Bristol and Plymouth) as well as much of the County of Cornwall and many smaller seaside tourist-oriented towns, experience significant multiple disadvantages. These differences in the socio-economic position of differing parts of the region are accentuated by its size and length.

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